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Google Launches Long-Awaited Chromebooks

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 8:20am
Andrew Berg

Google yesterday dove deep into its Chrome notebook project at its annual Google I/O conference. The company has had the notebook operating system in beta for almost two years now.

Google announced the first market-ready Chromebooks from partners Samsung and Acer. The Chrome OS is dependent on the cloud for storage and various web-based applications. The result is a machine that boots in a matter of seconds and carries very little in the line of native hardware.

Chromebooks will last a day of use on a single charge, so users won't need to carry a power cord everywhere. The machines come packing optional 3G and don't require any anti-virus software because users operate entirely on the web. Google pitches the virtues of such a machine, saying that because it is dependent on the cloud and cloud-based services, such a machine won't as quickly be made obsolete. Also, the machine could be destroyed and users' data remains safely on the cloud.

Chromebooks will be available online June 15 in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain. More countries will follow in the coming months. In the U.S., Chromebooks will be available from Amazon and Best Buy. Samsung's Chromebook will come with an option for 3G connectivity from Verizon Wireless.

Google sent out thousands of free Chromebook prototypes to those chosen to participate in the company's beta program. Those machines came with two free years of 100 MB per month of data from Verizon Wireless.

Google is pitching Chromebooks as a budget-conscious alternative to more traditional PCs for schools and businesses. The company announced Chromebooks for Business and Education, a service from Google that includes Chromebooks and a cloud management console to remotely administer and manage users, devices, applications and policies. Included in the package are enterprise-level support, device warranties and replacements as well as regular hardware refreshes. Monthly subscriptions for the program will start at $28 per user for businesses and $20 per user for schools.

Google currently counts 160 million active users of Chrome today. Have a look at the videos below for more on the Google's Chromebooks:


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